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Melissa Joan Hart Loses 40 Pounds: “I’m Slimmer Than Before the Baby!”

Melissa Joan Hart on November 13, 2012 and on January 8, 2014
Mom of three Melissa Joan Hart credits her 40 pound weight loss to portion-controlled NutriSystem meals and daily cardio sessions.Ben Hider/Getty; Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Like most women, Melissa Joan Hart struggled to fit back into her pre-pregnancy jeans after welcoming her third son, Tucker, now 16 months. Anxious to drop the 60 pounds she gained prior to his birth, the busy Melissa & Joey star decided to act on a tip from her sister-in-law and give Nutrisystem a try. "She'd done it in her early twenties and she recommended it," recalls the star of ABC Family's sitcom, which airs new episodes Wednesdays at 8 p.m.)

Related: PHOTOS: Sexiest celebrity bodies

Having lost the first 30 pounds before starting the meal-delivery program, the 5-foot-2 actress — now the company's spokeswoman, 37, gushes that since she's lost 40 more pounds, she's "slimmer now than before the baby!"

Related: PHOTOS: Inside Tucker's adorable Disney-themed nursery

Noshing on portion-controlled meals like 270-calorie ricotta cheese-stuffed pasta, one of her go-to nighttime meals, and tortilla soup with rice, beans and corn, Hart tells Us Weekly that the best part of her slimdown plan is that she can still indulge in her favorite foods. "They do healthy versions of the foods you like. I love Mounds bars and they have this almond-coconut bar. I don't have to feel guilty," she says, adding that she always leaves room for an after-dinner treat. One prime pick: A Red velvet whoopee pie.

Related: PHOTOS: Hollywood's healthiest eaters

Thankful for her newfound energy in the nine months since she began her weight loss journey, Hart — also mom to sons Mason and Brady with musician husband Mark Wilkerson — tells Us she isn't slaving at the gym, either. "I make it a social event. I chitchat with friends on walks or run with my husband," Hart reveals of her fitness routine. "It's so nice not to be busting out of things or having to wear undergarments to keep things in. I feel good!"

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